13 July 2020


The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program is the U.S. military program to replace the ubiquitous Humvee. The Oshkosh, L-ATV (Light Combat Tactical All Terrain Vehicle) won the competition and is superior to the armored and unarmored Humvees and Class I MRAPs (mine resistant, ambush protected) vehicles that it replaces:
Oshkosh's L-ATV will deliver a level of protection similar to that of current, but far heavier and less maneuverable, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) class designs, these having far more protection from blast than up-armored M1114 HMMWVs. 
On 25 August 2015, the L-ATV was selected as the winner of the JLTV program. The first JLTV delivery order was placed in March 2016 with the U.S. Army ordering 657 trucks. Overall JLTV requirements are 9,091 vehicles for the Marine Corps with all to be delivered in FY 2022, and 49,099 for the Army entering service in late 2019 with deliveries occurring through 2040. The Air Force and Navy will also receive small quantities of JLTV, and all totals are subject to change. The Army received its first seven JLTVs for test at the end of September 2016[.]
The Air Force wants 140 of them and the Navy wants 22 of them. "The British Army is reportedly trying to acquire 2,747 JLTVs through Foreign Military Sales (FMS)."

The idea for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) first emerged in 2006 from threats experienced during the Iraq War. The primary tactical wheeled vehicle used by the U.S. military at the start of the war was the Humvee. However, it was unarmored and built for payload mobility, so the type incurred heavy losses when improvised explosive devices (IEDs) began being employed by insurgents. The initial response was to add armor to existing Humvees, and primarily on the sides. This improved side protection against direct fire and associated threats, but since the chassis was not designed to handle any further additional weight, there was little room for underbody protection. The additional weight impacted on overall reliability and compromised off-road mobility. 

To combat increasing numbers of IED attacks, the U.S. spent around $50 billion rapidly procuring some 29,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, including the Oshkosh M-ATV for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. While MRAPs offered superior protection from IEDs, especially underbody blasts, they were significantly larger and heavier and had relatively poor off-road mobility. The military incorporated MRAPs in response to operational needs, but never intended them to become a permanent part of their tactical wheeled vehicle fleets. At the conclusion of operations, many thousands were either scrapped, adapted for other roles, or offered for sale/transfer to allies. Ultimately U.S. armed forces would retain over 11,100 MRAPS, just over 6,350 of these Oshkosh M-ATVs. The bulk of retained MRAPS are mothballed in prepositioned stocks around the world. 

Since up-armoring Humvees and buying MRAPs addressed specific issues but created gaps in vehicle capabilities, the JLTV program was started to incorporate lessons learned and balance payload, mobility, and protection into a new vehicle. Its purpose was to restore the mobility commanders had with the original Humvee, while having the side and underbody protection of a basic MRAP. It would be around two-thirds the weight of an MRAP, possible to be carried under a CH-47 Chinook and CH-53E Super Stallion and by amphibious vessels, things impossible for an MRAP. It would also be 70 percent faster off-road, adding to survivability by enabling it to egress a combat situation faster. Compared to the Humvee, the JLTV was to have the mobility of early unarmored versions with greater protection than up-armored versions, along with greater reliability, payload capacity, and ease of repair. The JLTV is the first vehicle purpose-built for network connectivity into the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical.
There are numerous versions of it. The rooftop mounted weapon usually be a remotely operated 0.50 caliber machine gun or 30mm automatic chain gun, although an armored manned turret is also available. The per unit cost is $250,000 to $560,000 each.

A new report to Congress from the Congressional Research Service addresses the program.

How big is it?

The basic class I capacity model of the L-ATV is 246 inches long by 99 inches wide by 102 inches high and weighs 10,266 pounds. The fuel economy isn't easy to come by, but  you can safely assume that the large L-ATV (whose diesel-electric hybrid drive was ultimately jettisoned) uses more fuel. It runs on JP-8 jet fuel and has a range of 300 miles on a tank of it. It has a top speed of 70 mph.

A Humvee is 180 inches long by 85 inches wide by 72 inches high with a curb weight of up to 5,900 pounds. It gets under 12 miles per gallon and probably closer to 4 mpg in city driving and 8 mpg in highway driving, and can be designed to run on gasoline or diesel fuel with a 25 gallon gas tank. It has a top speed of 70 mph.

By comparison, a Chevy Suburban, one of the largest SUVs in civilian mass production is 224 inches long by 81 inches wide by 74 inches high and weights 5,808 pounds. It gets up to 15 mpg city and 22 mpg highway on ordinary gasoline. It has a top speed of 98 mph.

By comparison, a Nissan Juke, one of the smallest four wheel drive vehicles you can buy, is 163 inches long by 70 inches wide by 62 inches high and weighs 2,732 pounds. It's combined city and highway fuel efficiency is rated at 40 mpg running on ordinary gasoline and it has a 12.2 gallon fuel tank. It has a top speed of 111 mph.

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